UCR entomologists honored for maintaining and enhancing nation's natural resources and environment

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- June 27, 2003 -- Entomologist Nick Toscano and Assistant Research Entomologist Matthew Blua in the department of entomology at UC Riverside have been recognized for exemplary service and achievements by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman at the 57th Annual U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Honor Awards Ceremony held this month in Washington, D.C. Toscano and Blua received the Secretary's Annual Awards in the category 'Maintaining and enhancing the nation's natural resources and environment.'

The Secretary's Annual Honor Awards are the most prestigious awards given by USDA. The University of California's honorees were among this year's 85 award winners. The awards are the most significant recognition the USDA can bestow to acknowledge outstanding contributions to agriculture and to the consumers of agricultural products. The purpose of Honor Awards is to provide high-level recognition to deserving USDA employees at all levels and private citizens who have made outstanding contributions supporting the USDA's mission. The Honor Awards Program was created in 1947.

Toscano and Blua are members of the Cooperative Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (GWSS) Areawide Management Team that developed and implemented pest management strategies against the Glassy-winged sharpshooter in California.

"Our programs suppressed GWSS populations to non-detectable levels in Temecula and Kern County citrus," said Toscano. "The suppression of the GWSS populations was done to reduce the possibility of infecting vineyards bordering citrus with Pierce's Disease. All indications are that the programs in these areas have been very successful."

This is the second USDA group award Toscano has received, the previous being for his participation in the National

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

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